Namibia here I am: T plus 3 months

I’ve been a bit lazy during the last weeks when it comes to my blog. Luckily for my work and also for the spare time I couldn’t say the same. That's what we are paid for:-)
So, how is work? First things comes first. My office, which I share with my ‘counterpart’ Victor, is situated in the main building of the regional Ministry of Education for the Omusati region in Outapi. Due to the lack of space the government had to rent six other buildings, five of them close by. Between 70 and 100 people (I’ll check that one with HR next week) Around 190 people work there and administer the school system for the region. An two person IT ‘department’ would be quite reasonable for such a size. Problem is that the IT department is responsible for the WHOLE region and Omusati is one of the most densely populated regions of Namibia. To give you an idea about that some ’09 numbers:

  • 86’639 learners
  • 269 schools
  • 3206 teachers
  • 10 circuits
  • 200 admin employees

Because it’s Africa someone could come the conclusion that those figures don’t correlate with the IT equipment available. This is a clichĂ©. In our seven buildings we do have at least 25 client computers, most of them running Windows XP.Main building Ministry of Education Outapi An inventory list is not existing – the same applies for the schools. On ‘field missions’ during the last two months I’ve been totally surprised by many of the computer labs: state of the art HP server, workstations or thin clients. Of course there is also a lot of crappy equipment around. What exactly is around probably no one knows, because the equipment no just comes from the head office in Windhoek – but this will be another blog thread. So our department is everything but idle – and I am working full time since week three in Namibia.
Of course there is not just work here.Efficient use of a government car: Victor, me and someone from General Services I started to attend the Ministry’s volleyball training, go at least once in a week to the ‘Outapi gym’ with the heavy boys at the Ministry of Youth, try to keep the grass and donkeys out of my garden – and are still looking for a bigger house. I also managed to visit some of the tourist attractions nearby (<300Km:-) with members of my organization or other volunteers during the weekends. The Saturday supply runs to Oshakati have become quite handy because - thanks to Penny O'Brien who is on vacation in the UK until September - I do have a nice 'weekend house' on the University of Namibia campus there.

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